13 September 2018
Núria Garriga reflects on what has been achieved and what has been learned through the project to support local development in Angola
Almost 24 years ago, the Social Support Fund, an Angolan institution which the FIIAPP has worked with on a local development support project, began to work on constructing social infrastructures and therefore access to public services in Angola’s most vulnerable or rural communities.
Since then, the project, funded by the European Union, has worked on three main components: building infrastructures, boosting the local economy and reinforcing the capacities of local institutions. Now, there is also a more structured view of these communities; they each depend on one another and work cannot be done freely, a message that has finally come together.
Of these components, the key component everything revolves around is the last, the reinforcement of the municipal administrations. What have we achieved? We have contributed to increasing the number of municipalities the Social Support Fund had already reached to a total of 36. In 30 of them, work started from scratch in a process that began with a municipal diagnosis and several studies, followed by planning.
Until then, the diagnoses of the municipality were inanimate snapshots: this is what the municipality has, this is what the health sector is like, etc. Another thing that I think has been strengthened with our support is that we have improved the idea, which they had already come up with, of creating a “dynamic profile”, that is to say, things change from one day to the next.
The final achievement in this reinforcement of municipal capacities was the introduction of a web-based platform, a municipal basic information system that anyone can access from any point on the planet. This updated information on the health sector or the social assistance sector of the municipality can then be accessed from any Ministry in order to make decisions on these matters.
A diagnosis to create opportunities
The promotion of the local economy through these municipal diagnoses sought to identify those products or sectors with greatest potential in the municipality. From there, studies were made of the value chains of these products to identify what investment opportunities there were for the municipality’s economy to develop. Normally, these were the products that involve more labour or which report more visits; there were several criteria to determine this.
Another aspect of this component and that was not foreseen, but which resulted from the reflection and the influence of the World Bank with its social protection programmes, is that productive inclusion has been worked on, which ultimately aims to increase the income of poor families.
The intention was that people excluded from the market and the productive economic sector and who have a subsistence activity should have the opportunity to conduct an economic activity or to improve the one they were doing. It started in ten municipalities, where vulnerable people and potential beneficiaries were identified and 1,400 people were selected.
Those who did not have economic activity were offered training to submit a practically applicable plan. They then received a kit to start working with. For those who already had an activity, training was given in business management to teach them to control costs and profits and to identify gaps in their economic activity. A business improvement plan was thus made and they were also provided with a kit.
Of the total of 1,400 selected, around 1,200 received the kit, since some did not finish their training or did not do the required project. This kit included the material they needed to start the activity. This might be physical equipment, such as a sewing machine or a generator. Some women who make flour (receiving grain, processing it, delivering it and keeping the shell which they sell for livestock) asked for buckets as well as grain to have more stock and be able to continue working.
One of the important things about this part of the project is that there is great diversity because there are many different activities, and we were able to adapt to the needs of each one.
We are now monitoring how these people’s lives have changed and how satisfied they are. A colleague has visited several of these beneficiaries to see whether the kit was used or not. There was a certain risk, which is that when someone gives you a kit with brand-new equipment, the first thing you do is go and sell it.
An initial evaluation was made with the questionnaire and the on-site visit. As it was a pilot phase, there were many lessons learned: such as that training should not be mandatory, but a further element of the kit, and that some unselected people managed to blag their way in.
Lessons learned in Angola
A study of lessons learned can be very useful for other cooperation projects: how the team is formed, how the project is established in the field, how it is performed, how the monitoring is done, accountability, etc.
In some cases, we also needed to be able to draw on other projects managed by the FIIAPP; it is interesting to know how they were conducted and whether we have points in common with them. I think this is a lesson learned for the Foundation: we could come up with a strategy for knowledge management.
24 May 2018
We recognize the actions of the project that contribute to local development in the country and improve the situation of Angolan municipalities
Wednesday, 5 March 2030, 38 degrees in the shade, the electricity is on and the thermostat is set at 23 degrees (it’s been some time since there were power cuts).
– Good morning, Minister. We have a few problems: someone has been trying to hack the family information network, although they didn’t succeed. We have to try to increase security. If not, we’ll have problems with the privacy of information act.
-But… Did they manage to get in and copy any information?
-No, the firewall the Spanish installed for us a short time ago prevented it, but not without problems.
-By the way, Joao, I’m seeing that in Cuando-Cubango the maps are showing in light yellow that 3 micro-areas between Cuito Cuanavale and Mavinga are on the alert for dengue fever, but there’s one in the middle that’s not marked…
-Let me see… Yes, it doesn’t seem logical; I’ll go and see what’s happening and let you know.
Joao Mungamba goes to see what’s happening with the family record information system that is part of the municipal information systems.
-Minister, I talked to the Department in Menongue and it seems that the ADECOS in that micro-area didn’t manage to enter the information from their mobile phones because of a connectivity problem, but it’s already been solved and we’ll have up-to-date information shortly. They also informed me that there are mosquitoes in that micro-area, so that, when they update the information, it will also be on pre-alert. I saw on the system that a fumigation team had problems with the sprayer but that’s been solved and now they’re spraying in Longa.
This is what we imagine today the situation could be llike in Angola in 2030, thanks to the work being done since 2015 by FIIAPP and the Social Aid Fund (FAS), to implement the project “Support for the Local Development Programme”, financed by the European Union.
Angolan municipalities, in real time
As part of this project, FIAPP is assisting with a new method of municipal profiling, which, thanks to the addition of new technologies, is becoming dynamic. In other words, it is changing as the municipality grows. This process has helped to empower the local authorities.
Municipal profiles are no longer static photos of the situation in the area that quickly became obsolete. With this new methodology, the snapshot of the municipality is updated in real time each time that a new piece of information is collected, which helps the Angolan local authorities to adjust their plans and make informed decisions.
But, how does it work? The process for creating dynamic municipal profiles consists of municipal technicians entering information into a database using mobile apps during their field visits. This permits geo-referenced and photographic data to be collected, which is constantly updated according to the different changes in the municipality.
Using this information, the data are analysed and tables and graphics produced containing specific information for the different sectors: education, healthcare, basic sanitation, etc. This makes it easier to draw maps automatically. From these renderings, grouped by sector and by commune (a political and administrative division of Angolan municipalities), the municipalities aided by the project have created their municipal profiles.
The advantage of this method is not only that it is dynamic but that it also makes a contribution to the endogenous development of the municipalities, as the information is collected, generated and stored locally. It forms an important basis for the development of the country’s municipalities (the first municipal elections are planned for 2020).
To complement the process, the project has contributed to the development of a Basic Municipal Information System (SIBM), a web-based tool that allows access to the municipal database from anywhere in the world and provides information on the municipality by sector.
This tool allows the Angolan Ministry of Territorial Administration and State Reform (MATRE) to have immediate access to up-to-date information on the situation in the municipalities, helping it to make decisions and design public policies based on the real needs of the municipalities.
ADECOS as community spokespersons
In parallel, the project is implementing a pilot phase of the National Community and Sanitation Development Agents Programme (ADECOS). The ADECOS serve as a communication link between the community and the local authorities for basic services designed to promote social inclusion and active citizenship. They are responsible for promoting the development of the community and of the households in their area of operation by working with the families and community leaders on a daily basis.
Supervised by MATRE and the Ministry of Health and coordinated by FAS in conjunction with the provincial governments and municipal authorities, each ADECO is responsible for recording and following up on 30 families in a micro-area each month. This pilot phase, which is financed by the project, involves 670 ADECOS and benefits a population of over 130,000 people in 18 municipalities in 6 provinces in Angola. Currently, the information is collected manually but work is being done on collecting it digitally and entering it in the municipal database in order to draw up a dynamic municipal profile.
The ADECOS programme seeks to be successful and to become an international reference model, especially for the African continent. As it is large-scale and can have a positive impact on all of society, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are highlighting and recommending Community Development Agents as one of the most effective strategies for promoting basic social actions.
The work done at the municipal level could lead to the computerisation of much of the data that only exists on paper, making it easier to process it, improving its quality and permitting its dissemination, so that it can become the monitoring and planning tool in the fictional dialogue at the beginning of this report. Ultimately, it will allow local, provincial and national authorities to produce plans based on better information to benefit the people of Angola.
Jaime Lodeiros, Nuria Garriga, Vagno Gomes and Aran Palau. The FIIAPP team in Angola
06 August 2015
Helena Farinha, Deputy Director General of the FAS, tells us what the FAS is and its objectives for fighting poverty in Angola.
HISTORY OF THE FAS
Actions to fight poverty by the Angolan government started to take shape with the creation of the Social Support Fund (FAS) on 28th October 1994 through Decree No. 44/94 of the Council of Ministers within the framework of the Economic and Social Programme – PES/94. As a government body, it was granted legal personality and administrative and financial autonomy in its founding statutes.
To accomplish its mission, the FAS has utilised funds from the Angolan government and grants from diverse funding sources, such as World Bank credits, multilateral donations from the European Union and bilateral donations (Norway, Japan, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States of America) totalling 186.3 US dollars.
WHY FUNDS WERE REQUESTED FROM THE EU
In 2013, the FAS expanded its scope to provide national coverage and invest in regions of the countries with extremely vulnerable populations in terms of access to goods, services and opportunities.
The main objective of the Local Development Project (LDP) financed by the European Union is to combat poverty in Angola through effective decentralisation of service delivery, increased opportunities for business, and income generation. Its specific objectives are the following:
Improve the access of rural and vulnerable families to basic social services and economic opportunities.
Strengthen the institutional capacities of Angolan municipalities.
The FAS has always been attentive to context changes in order to adapt them to the real needs of the target public, i.e., the most vulnerable populations. This has meant transitioning from emergency intervention, whose main priority was reconstruction and construction of local physical capital (peri-urban and rural areas), to a type of intervention focused on strengthening physical, human and social forms of capital, and, more recently, economic capital (since 2011). The primary objective of this is to strengthen the 26 municipalities so that local and municipal leaders participate in their development process through better utilisation of the potential and productivity they have.
In this way, with this intervention, the FAS is working in the following areas:
Strengthening physical capital in the face of growing limitations on the access of populations to basic social and economic services (education, health, water, market, bridges and temporary bridges).
Strengthening social capital to address the need to continue stimulating the participation of citizens in identifying and solving the problems of their towns through public consultation mechanisms, bringing citizens, the civil society sector, the private sector and public bodies (municipal administrations) closer together.
Strengthening human capital because, during the war, there was a great exodus from rural zones towards the cities in search of protection; the majority of municipalities were left without qualified administrators, and so it is necessary to invest in training, not only of organised civil society but also to build the capacities of the employees of the local administration.
Strengthening economic capital because most economic and productive sectors which could be a means of lifting the local economy are not trained or developed enough to represent an added value for collecting revenue for municipalities, and because the main source of income for families tends to be the informal sector, especially in the case of women.
Deputy Director General of the FAS